Heat, swimming and reading are all things South Carolinians often associate with summertime. However, for over 30 local children, it’s what they associate with St. Lawrence Place’s “Around the World” summer camp.
St. Lawrence Place is one of the Foundation’s Community Enrichment grantees. This grant supports the organization in maintaining its Community Career Project. This is an innovative, research-based model for aiding homeless individuals living in transitional housing to acquire jobs and skills and establish a professional network.
These summer campers started their 10 week journey “Around the World” in June and will continue through August.
“This year’s theme allows our kids to explore different cultures,” Stephanie Jefferson, Children’s Service Coordinator at St. Lawrence Place, said. “They are able to see how other children and people live in different countries through books and films, then we discuss it.”
Literacy is also a main focus of the St. Lawrence Place summer camp.
“Literacy is crucial. That’s why we push our kids to read, read, read, during this camp,” Jefferson said. “We have reading and writing time throughout the camp, and our volunteer coordinator works with children to assess their skills. This way we can make sure they get any extra help they might need.”
The summer camp is made possible through the help of volunteers and community partners.
“This program is volunteer driven. The kids love the volunteers to come in from local churches and organizations,” Jefferson said. “They’ll help with reading, swimming, lunchtime… basically anything we need. We really love our volunteers here.”
Community partners allow the students to get out and learn new things.
“We partner with organizations like EdVenture and the Columbia Museum of Art. This week a church invited us to be a part of their vacation bible school. Next week an organization offered to teach etiquette classes,” Jefferson said. “We appreciate the opportunity to get the children out in the community to experience different things.”
Aside from education and broadening horizons, the St. Lawrence Place summer camp is about having fun.
“This camp is all about fun and making sure the kids are enjoying themselves,” Jefferson said. “We’re very invested in our family’s lives. We want to have a positive impact on them, and hope that the kids can take something they learned from our summer camp and use it later in life.”